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1889 Chicago Base Ball Club Pictorial Album Including A. G. Spalding, Duffy, and Anson
Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $2,115.00
This extremely rare fifteen-page booklet, titled Pictorial & Biographical Album - 1889 Chicago B.B. Club , features individual portrait illustrations and short biographies of thirteen members of the Chicago White Stockings and team owner A. G. Spalding. This is one of the rarest and earliest of all yearbook-style publications, and in many ways is designed as a cross between a yearbook and a card set (the pages of the small-format book are held together only by a single ribbon at the top and are therefore easily separated, resulting in a "card-like" appearance). The soft-cover album is bound together at the top, and each page is devoted exclusively to one player, featuring a detailed woodcut portrait, with identification and a brief biography below. Each player-page is blank-backed. Both the publisher (Pfeffer & King, Chicago) and lithographer (E. G. Christopher Lithographing Co., Chicago) are noted on the cover and first page. The "Pfeffer" referenced as the publisher was none other than Chicago's second baseman Fred Pfeffer, who was an entrepreneur also responsible for publishing an extremely highly regarded series of programs featuring player portraits on their covers for Chicago in 1888, and also for publishing other quality programs of the era. "King" was likely "Silver" King, who was pitching with St. Louis in 1889, but was a friend and teammate of Pfeffer in the Players League in 1890. The back cover features an advertisement for the A. G. Spalding & Bros. Sporting Goods Company. The fourteen individuals featured in the album are A. G. Spalding, Cap Anson, Frank Dwyer, Thomas Daly, James Ryan, Ed Williamson, Fred Pfeffer, George Van Haltren (misspelled in the album as "Van Haltern"), Gus Krock, Thomas Burns, Charles Farrell, Mark Baldwin, Hugh Duffy, and Frank Flint. This Pictorial & Biographical album must have been published well before the start of the 1889 season due to the fact that Baldwin jumped to the American Association in 1889 and Krock only appeared in few games before being traded to Indianapolis. 1889 also marked the first full season for future Hall of Fame outfielder Hugh Duffy, who would later star for the Boston Beaneaters. The cost of ten cents for the album was a very substantial sum at the time, reflecting the album's exceptional quality, and also no doubt contributing to its great rarity. This is the only example we have ever seen. All of the pages display a hint of soiling, of no consequence and mainly along the border areas, and some of the pages have detached from the string binding. A few insignificant scattered light stains are also visible on both the front and back covers. Very Good condition overall, but with a far superior appearance, and despite the insignificant faults it is actually in remarkable condition. Dimensions: 3.75 x 5.5 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $2,115.00
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